QUEER VOICES
12/19/2014 04:38 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Jacob Tobia And Jamal T. Lewis On What It Means To Identify As Genderqueer

As the transgender community continues to fight its way into mainstream conversations, we recognize others who also fit outside the male-female binary, including those that identify as genderqueer.

If you aren't familiar with the term "genderqueer," Jacob Tobia (who identifies as such) explained it to HuffPost Live's Alex Berg as a "big umbrella term" for people who don't fit within the traditional gender binary.

"So, when I say, 'I’m genderqueer,' I don’t identify, I don’t feel like a man or a woman," Tobia said. "I’m just kind of me. And it’s about determining your gender and the experience of your gender for yourself."

Jamal T. Lewis, who also identifies as genderqueer, emphasized how "dangerous" binaries can be in that they "really violently erase those folks who kind of live in, what I would say, the grey area."

Tobia understands the courage required to live authentically and outside the norm, and encourages people to explore the internet and seek out friends who can provide safe zones for self-expression. Tobia said:

My hope is that you can find a supportive friend or a loved one or someone that you can sort of safely play with your gender with. Find that best friend who will loan you a tube of lipstick. Find that best friend who will loan you or teach you how to tie a bow tie and enjoy it. And let yourself have that because you deserve to determine your own gender for yourself. You’re the only one who can.

Click the video above to hear more about Jacob Tobia's story and watch the full segment to learn more about Genderqueer here.

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